Rival teams making rivals out of Ironton couple

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Quite a battle is planned Monday afternoon in the Fiesta Bowl as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish meet the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Another battle is looming on South Seventh Street at the home of George and Linda Gagai when the game kicks off.

George and Linda have a lot in common. They both teach in the Ironton City School system, they both love sports and they’re both going to watch the Fiesta Bowl.

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However, George will be rooting for the Irish and Linda will cheer for the Buckeyes.

“I didn’t want to them to play this game,” Linda said. “I like both teams. I wanted to root for both of them to win in their own bowl games.

“But if they’re playing each other, I have to root for the Buckeyes.”

George said he wanted the two teams paired together in the Monday bowl matchups.

“I thought it would be a really exciting game. They’re two storied programs meeting. I think it’s great,” George said. “I bought Linda an Ohio State flag for Christmas because I thought they might play.”

Each team’s banner hangs on the front porch of the Gagai home, but something else is hanging in the balance depending on which team wins.

The person whose team loses must wear the winning team’s pullover warmup to school on Tuesday.

“If Ohio State gets beat, his life will be rough. I admit it. I’m not a good loser,” Linda said.

George just laughed.

“If I lose, I just get quiet and sulk. I think about the game for days,” George said.

But don’t expect any divorce papers to be filed.

“It’s just a lot of fun, and that’s the way everyone should look at it,” George said.